Before we get onto the links for this Monday morning, I wanted to make mention of a huge Boston sports fan who passed away over the weekend.

Scott Edward Norton lost his courageous battle with brain cancer on Saturday, after having battled the disease since being diagnosed in April, 2004. He was only 35 years old.

Scott deeply impressed those around him with his dignity and perspective during his fight. One time a few months ago, he was at home watching a Jimmy Fund Drive on TV and remarked, “There are young kids on here that have cancer and that’s just so wrong–Jesus, at least I got to live a little.”

Scott loved his Boston teams, especially the Red Sox and Patriots, and while fighting the cancer, he continued attend games, even on going to Baltimore to watch the Red Sox on occasion. He’ll be deeply missed.

Please consider making a donation to Circle of Hope in Norwood, MA 02062 or Brain Tumor Research, c/o Dr. Patrick Wen at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney St., Boston, MA 02115.

A donation to the Jimmy Fund in his name would also be a nice gesture.

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After dropping the first two games of their three game series to the Rangers, the Red Sox got star performances last night from David Ortiz, Curt Schilling and Jonathan Papelbon to defeat the Rangers on ESPN 3-2 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.

Amalie Benjamin looks at Papelbon coming in to slam the door in impressive fashion on the Rangers in the eight inning as things were beginning to get a little out of hand for the Red Sox. Jeff Horrigan looks at the Red Sox using star power to beat the Rangers last night. Sean McAdam has more on Papelbon slamming the door on the Rangers last night to help the Red Sox to victory. Jeff Goldberg has Papelbon saving the day to ensure Schilling’s first victory of the season. Bill Ballou has the Sox calling on their “cleanup pitcher” to save the night in Texas.

Michael Silverman has Jonathan Papelbon dazzling Red Sox fans with his outing last night. Gordon Edes has David Ortiz defending his friend and countryman Sammy Sosa.Silverman also notes that Daisuke Matsuzaka flew back to Boston, along with Josh Beckett last night, to get ready for their starts this week back here in Boston. Horrigan has Curt Schilling pleased with his outing, but saying there is still room for improvement.

Benjamin’s notebook has Javier Lopez being realist about his chances of staying with the Red Sox when Mike Timlin is activated this week, but hopeful he’ll still have a big role with the Sox this season. Horrigan’s notebook says that Timlin’s activation prior to tomorrow’s home opener is still in doubt. McAdam’s notebook has J.D. Drew looking forward to getting acquainted with the Fenway faithful this week. Goldberg’s notebook has David Ortiz and the Red Sox offense showing a few signs of life. Ballou’s notebookhas Ortiz breaking out of his early season slump with a pair of home runs last night.

The Masters

Jim McCabe has Zach Johnson coming out of nowhere to win the Masters, holding off Tiger Woods in the process. Karen Guregian has Johnson holding off Woods for his Masters victory. Jim Donaldson looks at Johnson being able to maintain his focus with Tiger breathing down his neck yesterday afternoon. Jeff Jacobs notes that Tigers’ amazing eagle on 13 yesterday was really his last roar, especially when he then missed a 12 foot putt for birdie on 14. Bruce Berlet has more on “normal guy” Johnson capturing the green jacket yesterday.

Bob Ryan has a normal guy winning in a weird week at Augusta. Guregian has Rory Sabbatini feeling good with after having tied for second place with Woods.

McCabe’s notebook has the gusty, cold conditions forcing officials to push up tee times yesterday. Guregian’s notebook has a rough start dooming the chances of defending champion Phil Mickelson. Berlet’s notebook has University of Hartford graduate Jerry Kelly finishing fifth.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett reports that the Celtics plan to offer coach Doc Rivers a contract extension after the season. Tim Weisberg says that grim assessments by Antoine Walker and Gary Payton this weekend about the Celtics future are tarnished by their bitterness towards the franchise. Mike Fine says that Kendrick Perkins’ growth this season has been just as important to the Celtics future as that of Al Jefferson. Christopher L. Gasper has injuries giving Sebastian Telfair a chance to get back on the court, and he’s making the most of his opportunity.

Patriots

John Tomase says that despite Asante Samuel’s comments from last week, the Patriots remain firmly in control of his situation, and Samuel has to know that. Mike Reiss has Randall Gay making a visit to the New York Jets tonight and tomorrow. If the Jets sign him, the Patriots can either match the offer or receive a second-round pick in return.

Bruins

Stephen Harris has a season-ending report card for the Bruins. Fluto Shinzawa notes that “throughout the season, in the most critical times, the Bruins folded.” Mike Loftus looks ahead to next year for the Bruins.

Misc

Julia Reischel of the Weekly Dig looks at a labor battle shaping up a NESN.

Dan Lamothe weighs in on ESPN radio’s Colin Cowherd encouraging listeners to take down a site that was critical of him.

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